It's That Time of Year Again...Cold and Flu Season

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The cold and flu share similar symptoms and can be difficult to tell apart, based on symptoms alone. Signs and symptoms of the cold versus the flu:


  • Symptoms come on slowly
  • Rarely has fever
  • Slight body aches
  • Body chills- not common
  • Sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat–common
  • Headache-rare
  • Fatigue–sometimes


  • Symptoms come on quickly
  • Often has fever, can last 3-4 days
  • Body aches, often severe
  • Body chills- common
  • Sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat-possible
  • Headache-common
  • Fatigue- usual

Emergency warning signs of the flu: Trouble breathing, sudden dizziness, pain/pressure in the abdomen, confusion, constant and/or severe vomiting, symptoms that improve but return with fever and/or worse cough. Seek medical help if you have any of these symptoms.

Common questions about flu shots:

  • Who should get vaccinated? Anyone six months and older.
  • Who should not get vaccinated? Depends on person’s age, health, and possible allergies (especially eggs).
  • What are the common side effects from the flu shot? Low grade fever, body aches, tenderness/redness/swelling where the shot was given.
  • Will I get the flu from the flu shot? No, you will not get the flu from the flu shot.

There are some medications that can be used to treat the flu if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms starting. Please call the NurseLine as soon as any symptoms occur so our nurses can help decide the best treatment for you.

For any questions or concerns, call the Denver Health Nurse Line at 303-739-1211. Registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.

Written by Kathy DeHerrera, RN, BSN